Facial eczema warning for Gippsland

06 Feb, 2018 04:00 AM
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Fungal spores that cause facial eczema are found in pasture litter.
Recent warm weather and rainfall have combined to create ideal conditions for spore growth.
Fungal spores that cause facial eczema are found in pasture litter.

Gippsland farmers are being urged to consider zinc oxide supplements with reports of alarmingly high spore counts that could quickly lead to facial eczema outbreaks.

One farmer in the Macalister Irrigation District reported 55,000 spores per gram of pasture – a number that should have every farmer across Gippsland talking to their vet or feed supplier about prevention options.

In other recent counts from MID farms, there were several reports of 20,000 spores per gram of pasture, while one topped 30,000 and another was above 35,000.

In West Gippsland, a Yannathan farm reported 25,000 spores per gram of pasture.

These figures suggest conditions are ideal for facial eczema outbreaks.

Above 20,000 is worrying – above 30,000 (let alone 55,000) means it is time to act.

Farmers are being urged to do their own pasture monitoring to ensure any localised rise in spore counts is quickly identified. Recent warm weather and rainfall have combined to create ideal conditions for spore growth.

Farmers can view spore counts on each of the 31 sentinel farm at http://go.pardot.com/e/99032/facialeczema/cz6nq9/223753312.

Spore counting commenced in December 2017 on Sentinel Farms across Gippsland and the Bega region. The facial eczema webpage has current spore counts for each area and allows farmers to sign up for alerts.

Remember that early intervention is critical to prevent facial eczema as there is no effective treatment. Seek expert advice on prevention programs from a vet or feed supplier.

The project is funded by Dairy Australia and is managed by GippsDairy.

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